- March 23, 2021
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Daily News
- Despite being confirmed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the reported presence of 220 Chinese maritime militia vessels around Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef in the West Philippine Sea is just “speculation,” according to the Chinese embassy.
- “There is no Chinese maritime militia as alleged. Any speculation in such helps nothing but causes unnecessary irritation,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement.
- “It is hoped that the situation could be handled in an objective and rational manner,” it added.
- The embassy admitted that some Chinese fishing vessels took shelter in the reef due to rough sea conditions, but maintained that they were within China’s territory.
- Despite the Chinese embassy’s denial, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the Chinese vessels were still in Julian Felipe Reef as of 22 Mar 21.
- In a radio interview, Arevalo said the military – as an “instrument of national power” – is ready to deploy forces to areas “where we are directed to go at the time and period as required from the AFP.”
- However, on their part, Malacañang on 22 Mar 21 expressed confidence that the presence of Chinese maritime militia ships at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea won’t escalate to something similar to the 2012 Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal standoff.
- “I don’t think so because we have a close friendship,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing when asked if he thought the incident would lead to a situation similar to what happened in Panatag nine years ago.
- In 2012, a standoff ensued after Chinese vessels stopped Philippine Navy ships from arresting Chinese poachers. China has since maintained its presence in the traditional fishing ground.
External Link : https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/03/23/2086297/china-denies-militias-says-fishing-vessels-its-territory
External Link : https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/03/22/2086209/palace-confident-chinese-militia-presence-west-philippine-sea-wont-lead-standoff